Pancreatic Cancer Epigenomics
Dr Fieke Froeling
What we do
Gene expression in cancer cells is altered not only via genetic changes but also through modifications of the chromatin landscape including DNA methylation, histone modifications and chromatin remodelling. Our group is studying those epigenetic changes in pancreatic cancer and mechanisms of drug resistance with the aim to identify new treatment strategies and companion biomarkers to select those patients who are likely to benefit.
Why it is important
Survival rates for pancreatic cancer have not shown much improvement and it remains a fatal diagnosis for most patients. Increased insights into its genomic landscape have revealed significant heterogeneity and epigenetic deregulation. In the absence of a dominant molecular phenotype, novel stratified therapeutic approaches are urgently needed and with a focus on epigenetic therapies, our group aims to address these questions.
How it can benefit patients
In order to improve the outcome for patients with pancreatic cancer, a better understanding of the biology of the disease and identification of selection biomarkers for specific therapeutic strategies is needed. Through characterisation of its epigenomic landscape and correlation with drug response, our research aims to identify responsive subgroups of patients and use these insights to test novel, stratified treatment approaches in the clinic.
Summary of current research
- mechanisms of epigenetic regulation of drug resistance in pancreatic cancer
- novel treatment strategies for pancreatic cancer: an epigenetic approach
- Dr Harpreet Wasan (Consultant Medical Oncologist Hammersmith Hospital)
- Dr Elaina Maginn (Translational Pancreatic Laboratory, Imperial College)
- Professor Andrew Biankin (University of Glasgow)
- Dr Chris Lord (Institute of Cancer Research)
We are involved in the following trials:
- STAR_PAC: a Phase 1B study repurposing ATRA as stromal targeting agent along with gemcitabine and nab-Paclitaxel for pancreatic cancer (STAR_PAC). This trial is currently open at Imperial, Barts and Cambridge.
- Clinical trials within the HPB Clinical Trials Development Programme at Hammersmith Hospital.